FORT DODGE — Sigourney softball coach Shelly Streigle put the Savages' loss in the 1A state quarterfinal to Southeast Warren Monday on her shoulders.
The reason why? The Savages' young roster felt the nerves in their state tournament opener and played uncharacteristically in what would be many of their first experience in Fort Dodge for the 1A state softball tournament The Savages fell to the Southeast Warren Warhawks 9-6, with the Savages scoring five runs in the top of the seventh in a last-ditch effort to steal a win.
But it was too little, too late for Sigourney. The climb back was made even worse by the fact that Sigourney was hurting itself with mistakes and missed chances. The Savages trailed the entire game, committed four errors, left 10 runners on and struck out nine times as an offense before the seventh inning rally.
Streigle said the Savages' roster of 21 players, 17 of which are underclassmen, succumbed to the added pressure and bigger stage of the 1A state tournament. And she took blame for it.
"I shoulder that responsibility," Streigle said. "I didn't do a good enough job getting them ready. We talked about it all week and we had a plan. But four errors is very not typical for our team and so it was all nerves. I think Carly [Goodwin] had nerves too, especially early. It is what it is."
Goodwin, the freshman ace pitcher for the Savages, took the circle on Monday with the third best ERA in 1A at 0.49, along with 258 strikeouts and just 10 earned runs. Coming into Monday's action, Goodwin had thrown 85 strikeouts, given up 11 hits and allowed 12 walks in her last 47 innings.
That changed once she entered the environment of the bigger crowds and higher stakes on Monday. Southeast Warren scored three runs in the bottom of the first off the freshman after an error at the plate scored two runs before a RBI double would give the Warhawks a 3-0 lead after just one inning of work.
"The first inning it kind of showed my nerves got the best of me, but I think I cam through in important situations," Goodwin said.
Goodwin said the Savages' inexperience got the best of them in the end, especially as the innings compounded and time was running out. Southeast Warren would build its lead to 5-0 after four innings, but the Savages were able to get on the board in the top of the fifth after senior Kaylee Weber's fielder's choice cut the lead to 5-1.
As one of four upperclassmen on the roster, and the only senior, Weber could tell the rest of her teammates nerves got the best of them. The tensions were high throughout the postseason and the Savages managed, but Weber said nothing compares to the setting and pageantry of playing to win a state title in Fort Dodge. The senior catcher for the Savages had one hit and one RBI in the 1A state quarterfinal.
"They were nervous, but who isn't nervous coming to the state tournament? We have the same conditions as every other team," Weber said. "But I think the nerves did hit us but we can't do anything about it now."
Weber saw the Warhawks wait patiently for Goodwin's fastball during the game and watched as they took advantage of compounding mistakes for the Savages in and outside the circle. Goodwin would finish the game pitching six innings, allowing eight hits, nine runs, six of those earned, four walks and seven strikeouts.
Streigle said it took time for the team to find itself and bring its spark to the game, plating five runs in the seventh inning on three hits and three walks. But they ran out of chances after digging a hole early on.
"We just ran out of game is basically what it was," Streigle said. "If we took those first two innings out I think the score ends up a little bit different and we settle in quicker."
While Southeast Warren (29-2) will face Newell-Fonda (36-4) on Wednesday in the state semifinals, Sigourney (25-9) will play North Butler (20-6) in a consolation game Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. The game, which will be held on Dodger Field at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex, is an opportunity Weber said the team is ready to not let go to waste.
In her final game for the Savages, Weber said the nerves will be gone and the aggressors will be Sigourney come Tuesday morning.
"We're not going to lose [Tuesday]," Weber said. "We're going to come ready to play and we're just going to lay it on them the whole time."
Newell-Fonda picked up the first win of the 2021 Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union State Softball Tournament, topping North Butler 2-0 on Kruger Seeds Field. Kierra Jungers tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts for the Mustangs, who joined Southeast Warren, Wayne (24-4) and Lisbon (36-8) as 1A state quarterfinal winners on Monday.
Class 1A State Quarterfinals
Southeast Warren 9, Sigourney 6
Sigourney 000 010 5 — 6 8 4
SE Warren 301 104 x — 9 8 1
Sigourney battery — Carly Goodwin (L, 21-4) (6IP, 8H, 9R, 6ER, 7K, 4BB, 2HBP), Kaylee Weber catching.
Hits — Madi Richard 2-3, Ava Fisch 2-4, Goodwin 1-2, Courtney Hemsley 1-3, Dani Aller 1-4, Weber 1-4.
RBI — Raegan Rozenboom 2, Richard 2, Aller, Weber.
Runs — A. Fisch 2, Macy Fisch, Goodwin, Hemsley, Richard.
Southeast Warren battery — Alivia Ruble (W, 18-2) (7IP, 8H, 6R, 3ER, 9K, 6BB, HBP), Breanna Nolte catching.
2B — Jaycee Neer.
Hits — Nolte 2-3, Neer 2-3, Kaylee Bauer 1-3, Emma King 1-3, Josie Hartman 1-4, Makayla Ruble 1-4.
RBI — Nolte 3, Neer 2, M. Ruble 2.
Runs — Nolte 3, Brooklyn Paige 3, Hartman, King.